Josh McDaniels is gone, another ghost of a failed past exorcised from Rams Park. Like most things, letting McDaniels walk away is not as simple as it sounds. His loss will have an impact on the St. Louis Rams' roster, at a position where the teams has been hurting for a long time.
As reported earlier, as the palace walls collapsed, Rams free agent wide receiver Brandon Lloyd is likely to follow McDaniels to New England. Lloyd has said as much himself, citing a certain loyalty to the coach who plucked him from obscurity. Lloyd's departure leaves the Rams without the best receiver they've had on the roster since the end the ignominious jettisoning of Torry Holt.
The Rams traded for Lloyd at the October deadline, a last ditch effort to add some talent at the position, something the last regime failed to do in what might have been its most fatal mistake. They gave up a fifth round pick for Lloyd, who caught 51 passes for 683 yards and five touchdowns in 11 games with the Rams.
So the Rams will be back at square one during the offseason, frantically searching again for help at the wide receiver position. They could franchise Lloyd, but the tag for a receiver will be somewhere in the $9 million range, eating away almost all of the projected $10 million in cap space the team will have. The crazied armchair GMs on Twitter may have already figured out a way to bolster the Rams cap to thrice that number, but I can assure you it's not that easy.
The draft will be key, and trading down from their second pick gives the Rams a couple more chances in the draft to find some help. They might also check around the free agent market, but that carries significant cap costs that rookies don't thanks to the new wage scale.
There is one silver lining in the Rams rental of Lloyd; they will receive supplemental draft pick if he signs elsewhere, which he most assuredly will. Where that pick is depends on the size of the deal Lloyd signs. The compensatory pick will also depend on what the Rams do in free agency. If they sign anyone big, that drops their return for losing Lloyd. All eyes will be on the Patriots when free agency starts to see if they do indeed pursue Lloyd. Remember, they also have to make a decision about Wes Welker, who won't come cheaply.